A new study funded by the British Heart Foundation published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that individuals training for their first-ever marathon are likely to have decreased blood pressure and more elastic arteries.
Researchers from Barts Health NHS Trust and University College London assessed the central blood pressure and stiffness of the main artery in individuals preparing for the London Marathon before and after six months of training.
The findings showed that during training, the stiffness of the arteries decreased, equivalent to a four-year reduction in the 'arterial age'. Additionally, the individuals witnessed a reduction in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 4 mmHg and 3 mmHg, respectively. The benefits were more pronounced in older, slower marathon runners with higher baseline blood pressure.
Dr Charlotte Manisty, the corresponding author, said: "Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of ageing on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months."